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What Babies Eat Around the World

Posted: 11/25/2013 6:18 pm

There has been much debate over what should be a child's first solid meal. Fresh fruits and vegetables? Finely chopped well-cooked meats? Homemade purées and porridges? As it turns out, the answer depends on where in the world you live. Here in the United States, mothers tend to breastfeed for up to six months before introducing their babies to iron-fortified single-grain cereals. But babies' diets in other countries are steeped in tradition and comprised of much different fare.

In Kenya, babies are given sweet potatoes early on to help combat the vitamin A deficiency in their diet. In Jamaica, infants will receive an appetizer of fruit and honey before being served their morning milk. And in Japan, a baby's first solidfood feast is a celebratory event called Okuizome (first eating), a ritual in which the parents present their child with an elaborate spread -- fish, sticky rice, octopus, and pickled vegetables -- and a biting stone to help promote the growth of strong teeth.

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    Vietnam
    Porridges and broths abound in Vietnam. Infants are served soups high in fiber, seasoned with fish sauce and pork bones for flavor, which contain ground or thinly sliced shrimp, potatoes, and vegetables such as carrots and butternut squash. Some parents even add infant cereal to these homemade soupy blends. Photo Credit: iStock_Thinkstock Click Here to see The Complete List of Baby Food from Around the World
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    Sweden
    Swedish starter foods include mashed up fruits and vegetables, but Swedes also feed their babies välling, a wheat-based cereal that is similar to oatmeal and contains palm oil, canola, and powdered milk. Photo Credit: © Flickr /hepp
  • 3
    Jamaica
    In the morning before a serving of milk, 4-month-old babies on the tropical island are given indigenous fruit and fruit blends — custard apple, mango, banana, papaya, naseberry — with a teaspoon of honey to enhance the flavor. Photo Credit: amana-image_thinkstock Click Here to see The Complete List of Baby Food from Around the World
  • 4
    China and East Asia
    By the time they're 4 months old, tykes in China have moved on from breast milk to rice dishes paired with fish, carrots, seaweed, and eggs, and hearty porridges made with banana, milk, and green beans. Other popular blends include chicken soup and pumpkin and ground pork and smashed eggplant. Photo Credit: iStock_Thinkstock
  • 5
    Tibet
    A Tibetan baby’s first foray into the world of food starts at a mere four days old, when a piece of zamba — barley, wheat, corn, and peas stirred, fried, and ground into flour and mixed with yak butter — is stuck to the infant’s forehead as a ritual to denote purity. Photo Credit: © Flickr /notemper2x Click Here to see The Complete List of Baby Food from Around the World

Ironically, the little one doesn't eat the food, as the cultural practice is more symbolic and promise of good health and abundance.

Click Here to see The Complete List of Baby Food from Around the World

We at The Daily Meal decided to take a look at what baby food looks like in countries all around the world. From khichdi in India to chili powder in Mexico, here is our list of 5 first foods that babies around the world go "goo goo gaga" over.

-Shydel James, The Daily Meal

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